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Sewer Line Bypass in Laurel Gardens is a Turning Point Toward Permanent Solution

Release Date: 5/15/2001
Contact Information: For More Information (570) 455-9007

Contact: For More Information (570) 455-9007

HAZLETON, Pa. – Construction crews have completed the first segment of a temporary bypass of the sewer line along 22nd Street that will eventually eliminate gasoline vapors that have been entering homes in the Laurel Gardens community. The temporary line, now under construction, will allow continued sewer service to residents while the new, permanent line is being installed.

"The sewer bypass represents a major positive turning point in the Tranguch cleanup," said Steve Jarvela, the on-scene coordinator for the site.

The new, permanent line along 22nd Street, plus lateral sewer lines into each home are expected to be completed by fall 2001. Along with the permanent sewer line, EPA will install separate, parallel pipes for soil vapor extraction, and collection and treatment of the contaminated groundwater.

Soil vapor extraction is a system that uses a vacuum to pull gasoline vapors out of the ground through pipes installed parallel and slightly above the new line. Those
vapors are then treated with carbon filtration to remove contaminants. The cleaned air is then released into the environment. The soil vapor extraction is scheduled to be operational by fall 2001.

In addition to soil vapor extraction, the EPA will also install a groundwater treatment system that will prevent any remaining contaminated water from coming into direct contact with the new sewer line. The treatment system, located near the former Tranguch Tire Center, will treat the groundwater with carbon filters and discharge the clean water to Black Creek. That system should also be operational by fall 2001.

The sewer line replacement, soil vapor extraction system and groundwater treatment system are expected to cost approximately $6 million which will be paid for with federal funds.

Since last fall, the EPA has also been sampling individual homes for gasoline vapors and installing sewer vent traps which are designed to cut off the pathway for the vapors to enter the homes. Since July 2000, the EPA has taken 1,478 SUMMA air samples and 329 bag air samples from homes.

As of May 11, 283 sewer vent traps have been installed. In 70 percent of the homes where sewer vent traps have been installed, the vapors have been reduced to below the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended level. In the other 30 percent of homes, the EPA is conducting a Phase II evaluation to eliminate indoor sources of vapors. Once these sources have been eliminated, the homes are re-sampled to see if there are external vapors effecting the homes.

At that point, if there is a continued health threat from gasoline vapors in any of the homes, EPA will provide temporary air filters and then install vapor recovery systems on the properties. For more information about the gasoline spill and cleanup, call 570-455-9007.